Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

NFC wild-card weekend predictions

No. 6 Minnesota Vikings (10-6) @

No. 3 Green Bay Packers (11-5)

MCT

There is one thing that the Green Bay Packers have to focus on so that the Minnesota Vikings don’t pull off back-to-back wins against them, and it shouldn’t be too difficult: they need to make sure quarterback Christian Ponder has a low-impact performance.

Of course, the obvious thought would be to smother Adrian Peterson, but the Packers should know better than to expect to stop him. Peterson has averaged more yards per game in his career (120.2) against Green Bay, than any opponent that he has faced at least three times.

In Week 13, Peterson trampled Green Bay’s defense with 210 rushing yards, but the Vikings (3-5 on the road) fell short at Lambeau, thanks to a poor performance from Ponder.

Last week, Peterson faced the Packers in Minnesota while on a personal mission to beat the single season rushing record. He fell nine yards shy, but nonetheless, ran all over Green Bay once again with 199 yards on the ground. To go along with that, Ponder had the best game of his career and helped give the Vikings a slight 37-34 edge.

Seeing that Minnesota, playing at home, barely beat Green Bay with an unusual exceptional dual effort from Peterson and Ponder, the Packers should be confident heading back to Lambeau Field for a January game against a team accustomed to an indoor environment.

Even if Peterson runs all over Green Bay once again, which he probably will, the Packers should have little trouble stopping the Vikings. Expect Ponder to be a non-factor in this game, especially given his inexperience and average of less than one passing touchdown per game on the road this season.

On the offensive end for Green Bay, expect the usual for Aaron Rodgers, who had 651 passing yards combined in his two games against a Minnesota defense which has lost its dominance over the last few years.

Final Verdict:

Green Bay: 27

Minnesota: 13

 


 

No. 5 Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @

No. 4 Washington Redskins (10-6)

I’ve been hoping for this matchup for the majority of the season, and finally it’s here: arguably the two leading Rookie of the Year candidates facing off in a win-or-go-home game.

The Seattle Seahawks have been the dark horse of the NFC, rising into the conversation for the best team in their conference. Riding the success of the deadly combination of running back Marshawn Lynch and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, along with a defense that has allowed the least points in the NFL, the Seahawks may be the most feared team in the NFC at this moment.

Then there are the Washington Redskins who have pulled off a miraculous seven-game winning streak to outlast the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East division title. Behind rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris the Redskins have beat the odds after starting the season 3-6.

So how will they fare facing off?

The first thing to point out is how poorly Seattle has played away from home. On the road, the Seahawks are 3-5 and have given up nearly 10 points per game more than their home average. Their defense has also given up about a touchdown more per game on the road.

Veteran Marshawn Lynch is third in the league in rushing yards, but he is facing the number one rushing defense in the NFL, so he will be tested to his limits.

That puts the pressure on Wilson, facing the third worst passing defense; but despite his incredible debut season his poor road performances should be recognized. Though he is arguably the best quarterback in the league at home (17 touchdowns, two interceptions, 123.6 passer rating), Wilson has not displayed even remotely similar statistics on the road (nine touchdowns, eight interceptions, 83.1 passer rating.) With that said, along with the possibility of Lynch being shut down by Washington’s superior run defense, the red-hot Seahawks offense may have difficulty scoring.

MCT

But of course, the Redskins have the challenge of facing the No. 1 scoring defense. However, the tandem of RGIII (third in passer rating) and Morris (second in rushing yards) is difficult to contain, even for the toughest of defensive units.

This should be a very tight game throughout, but I say RGIII will prevail as the only rookie quarterback to advance to the divisional playoff round this year.

Final Verdict:

Washington: 24

Seattle: 21

(Overtime)

ALSO, CHECK OUT AFC WILD-CARD PREDICTIONS

Taylor C. Snow can be reached at tsnow@dailycollegian.com and followed on Twitter @taylorcsnow.


Comments
One Response to “NFC wild-card weekend predictions”
  1. Spark says:

    I agree with three of your picks, but the Seahawks are just too good to lose yet.

Leave A Comment